North Korea may be looking to send a message to President Donald Trump by planning new nuclear tests on the day of his inauguration.
According to military officials, North Korea wants to send a "strategic message" to Trump, who is set to take office as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, the New York Post reported. The message involves timing nuclear launches during his inauguration.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff could not confirm the reports, but said they were monitoring the situation closely. Other news reports in South Korea indicate that two missiles have already been placed on mobile launchers.
Professor at Seoul’s Kookmin University Andrei Lankov told CNN that an ICBM test is "highly plausible" within the next couple of days.
“Judging by earlier behavior, they usually like to greet a newly elected American president with some kind of nice surprise like a nuclear (test) or missile launch,” Lankov said. “Because President-elect Trump tweeted that ‘it won’t happen,’ such a launch could be seen as a serious humiliation for (the US).”
Satellite imagery also shows increased activity at a major North Korea nuclear site, a new report shows.
The new threat comes after reports that Kim Jong-un's military will obtain nuclear warheads capable of striking the United States within a year. His Musudan missiles, which have a range of 3,480 miles, are set to be ready within a year, according to 38 North.
The U.S. announced it will combat the threat by deploying its state-of-the-art THAAD advanced missile defense system in South Korea within the next year.
Trump recently took to Twitter to address North Korea's nuclear strategies.
“North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the US It won’t happen!” he tweeted Jan. 2.
North Korea had previously conducted nuclear tests in January and September, causing an international uproar.